An American Millennial

Where are you and where are you going?
Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Girlfriend accepted a job offer so that's pretty woo! Starts in Nov 10, so still trying to contain excitement just in case...

Alphaville
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Alphaville »

hey, congrats! so will you be moving/did you move/ and where to?

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Thank you! And that is also at the top of our minds @Alphaville. We talked about it quite a bit yesterday and were leaning towards staying until end of lease in March.

Pros:
Girlfriend time to get accustomed to new job
Less financially risky and/or costly (vs. subleasing, moving)
More time to eval COVID impact / post-winter
GF job may have some restrictions on where we can move, so we need to evaluate our choices in that lens / see how strict it is

Not super excited to stay in locked down Chicago (normal Chicago wasn’t bad), but it should go quick, and we’ve still got clean water, air, and healthy diet ☺️, trying to go on some nearby road trips to hiking, lots to be grateful for

Scott 2
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

That is great news, especially with the current unemployment levels.

Did she get into tech?

Alphaville
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Alphaville »

@viktor

yeah, waiting sounds like a very smart hedge.

also, doing a web search for “chicago nature” throws a lot of interesting results, so it seems there’s plenty to discover.

btw i remember from the other thread that you wanted to live car-free... if so, car rentals are a good way to get away for the weekend without the burden of ownership. having said that, i haven’t rented a car lately due to covid protocols by companies + an excess of caution.

oh and... just thought of this... i used to have neighbors who were urban cyclists in chicago and they loved the bike shops & culture there. this was ofc in the prehistory of humanity, so i‘m sure things have changed since then but... maybe not so much? saw something about 26 miles of interconnected parks....

alright—best wishes and a safe winter!

ps- i recommend studded bike tires for the ice :mrgreen:

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

@Scott 2 Yep, she's got a junior software engineer or apprentice engineer role, something like that. With a good, well-known company here in Chicago as well.

@alphaville Ya, the only thing were really worried about is being in a big city during the COVID surge. Otherwise, it's not so bad, relatively, to justify waiting :)

So funny you mentioned rentals...we've planned and nearly executed 3 times now a rental car to take to one of the parks within 2-3 hours. We always talk ourselves out of it at 7:00AM lol, last time was yesterday.

Think we need to start smaller and get some rental bikes on one of the trails in the city

Alphaville
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Alphaville »

ha ha yeah my problem was when i called around rental companies, they told me they don’t rest the cars between users- they just clean them, they quarantine (for 30 days!) only if “someone had covid in it.” really? how the hell do they know? it would be safer to just rest the car for 24h or something but they don’t. also, enterprise stopped doing pickups last i checked and i’m not taking public transport in this environment.

i have non-owner car insurance so that covers liability, and renting with visa covers insurance for the car. you could get $25/day or so back in the spring. i haven’t looked since...

but yeah, if you can patronize your local bike shops... you might be very pleasantly surprised. take your time to find a good fit because a good bike shop is more important than a good bicycle in many ways.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Image

New budget estimates with job, raises... current spending. Should try to reduce discretionary. One category there I am spending like $600/mo and can cut back. Living might change a bit with more frugal grocery shopping. Financial includes taxes, 401k, personal investing, loans etc.

Thoughts?

2Birds1Stone
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Seems balanced, but only you can really answer that,

Personally, I'm not a fan of "budgets" per say. Keep expenses optimized to reflect your value system, track to have awareness as to where the money is going, adjust course as necessary.

Is this combined income/expenses as a household, or yourself alone?

Scott 2
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

The chart says you have $950 of discretionary spending. I guess that could be cut? :D


Early on, I made an annual budget and updated it every year or raise. It didn't provide much in the way of actionable feedback. Life doesn't fit cleanly into weekly or even monthly buckets. I'd largely ignore it, other than annoying my wife by playing with excel a bit too much. I was also (unintentionally) not always honest with myself about where money was going.

Later, I switched to ongoing tracking of expenses. I've used a couple tools for this over the years (mint, personal capital) and found it much more effective. The strength is in automatic categorization and near immediate (within a couple days) feedback on my actions. Adjusting the trends before they have a long term impact is much more effective. The data is immediately available. It is trivial to run projections on new behaviors.

The 3rd party tool also makes having a very transparent conversation about money with my wife easy. The pretty charts are safer than anything I do in excel. We both have the creds. She can see at any time where money is going. Not that she feels a need to check, but that is partially because of the transparency.


What accompanied this shift, was a recognition that my frugality does not exist to minimize expenses. Rather, it is to intentionally distribute my resources, in alignment with my values. Expense tracking and trending is much more effective in supporting it.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

This budget is just my income, not my girlfriends too. She got paid for 4 days work, and we’re also checking in with financial advisor again early December. Since it is not exactly normal for either of us to be earning this much.

That’s part of the reason for the budget above. Im having trouble adjusting to the new income. It seems I can’t spend it all without being really reckless. This makes me complacent.

Trying to figure out what the goals are... I’ve got some hobby income ideas but I feel too scattered. It’s kind of like when I was in a China but before I started studying code. Thus I need to find direction.

I’m using Mint too, since China we haven’t tracked expenses like we used to. Part of that is because Mint is so easy to use. But it has a big problem, where most of our spending is on Amazon. And that means our discretionary and living (we use prime delivery) are under the same merchant for Mint. 😐 So automated tracking is failing.

So this budget above is average expenses in the last 3 months, adjusted for November spending. I have an expenses chart as well, but it’s just average/estimates right now, not tracking.

When I’m not keeping a chart of expenses, I still track my net worth chart, assets and debts. I also check our combined cash emergency fund 🚨.

I feel like daily tracking really reins in my spending, like we used to do in Nevada and China. Mint does it for us, and in an imperfect way, so some of the feedback is lost.

We had a big talk end of last year too. Over the last 5 years we’ve tracked expenses and kept a balance between each other. For example in China 🇨🇳 we’d text each other depending on who paid for something. So if I paid at a restaurant, we’d text the difference in our meals 📈. And after a few weeks of talking it over, we’ve moved off that system. This talk included lots of things like future goals, money goals, spending habits. Obviously a lot of this stuff we already knew, since we tracked our spending habits so closely for such a long period of time. We’ve never really had big money disagreements. So we feel at ease, and just try not to buy too much and on one account vs the other.

I am an ENTJ and she is an INFP by the way, I don’t know if I ever mentioned that 💘

It’s been way easier, but it might also be contributing to a lack of expense tracking, since it went really well with that. I’ve always spent more than her as well 💰. So she doesn’t really track things, I think especially since she is so naturally frugal.

On the idea of making sure my spending matches my goals, that’s a bit harder. I’ve got ideas but not a lot of drive lately. So just trying to figure that stuff out right now.

End of lease is March, and we might be moving to Colorado 🏔. Her job only lets you work remotely in a few states, for some payroll reasons. Mine said I could do the foreign worker visa they’re offering for Antigua and Barbuda 🇦🇬. It’s very interesting comparing our jobs, sometimes
I get a kick out of it.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Still trying to figure out the situation for the budget. I've got my expenses for the last month, as well as the averages over the last 4 months. Some things are tricky though, since we share food, so all the food doesn't show up in my Mint.

So we've got some expenses that are basically shared... food being the big one, that total up in both of our accounts. So we'll need to coordinate at the end of the month, or track as we spend.

Looking at our savings rate and talking about career lengths, I'm hoping for a 4-5 year plan, and she's comfortable with a 10 year plan. Babies assume another year or two in the work force, but also an extra 5 years from either one of us would hopefully cover. She keeps throwing the $1mil/baby statistic, which I've heard before, but is that really the case?

At my current spending, I need to find about $1000/mo to cut. Hope to cut discretionary spending in half next month. Should be attainable when paying attention, and I've bought most of the big ticket items that I've wanted already, with my computer, and some ergonomic upgrades for my desk (this will actually get reimbursed by work). Small gifts for family for Christmas and for eachother shouldn't get in the way, as long as I cut back in some areas.

Getting more and more organized... I think hobby income is a big opportunity for me. Paid GMs earn $10/player/session on the low end. It isn't competitive on a per hour basis with programming, obviously, but it is hobby income. There are also map artists that earn over $1000/map, and release 4-5/month. There's other more niche things like 1 page adventure writers, homebrewed monsters and magic items, etc. Each little niche seems to be able to bring in anywhere from $100-$4000 per item, and release weekly or so. Some are on monthly subscription models.

I also have been plugged into and participating in the online community. People seem to like what I say (woo, strangers on the internet!), and the same questions come up all the time. There's only a handful of popular blogs for tabletop games. I made a list of 60 topics that I could easily write an article about, common questions or topics that come up daily in the tabletop community. That might be a good way to get some exposure, or could be a waste of time.

One map artist I've been following started in June of this year and is already at $600/month. As far as I know, they didn't have any following beforehand.

We are eyeing Texas as well for moving, as it is one of the other states permitted by her job. I've family there, low cost of living, no income tax, can get more space for cats and pandemic. Downside is the political landscape there with the politicization of pandemic mitigation measures. Stay for a year, maybe 2-3 if we get a house.

basuragomi
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by basuragomi »

My parents managed about US$150k/child (in 2020 dollars), with all the lessons, extracurriculars, camps and post-secondary education savings. $1,000,000 per child is $50k/year - how does that break down? Is that assuming live-in nannies, private school, European hockey camp, buying new cars at 16, full tuition at a private university, etc.?

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

My own google search revealed similar numbers to what you’re mentioning @basuragami. Looks like average is more like $250k, less for single parents and low income households.

Must be some myth! Idk where the $1mil came from lol. When she mentioned it though I was like “Yes I’ve heard that before but...”

Hristo Botev
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Hristo Botev »

$50K/yr/kid seems a bit high, but, looking at my own spending for the past couple years, I can certainly see how you'd get there, assuming two parents working "traditional" full-time jobs in urban HCOL with childcare mostly outsourced to others so the parents are able to work those jobs:

- K-12 private school tuition (OR more expensive home in good school district with higher property taxes--i.e., the "public" private option)
- Preschool, daycare, babysitting, summer and after-school camps (some folks I know go with the "live-in nanny" because it's cheaper than the alternative)
- College tuition and expenses
- Bigger home
- Bigger (and "safer") car
- More food (groceries and restaurants)
- More clothes (which they of course grow out of and wear out at astonishing rates)
- More books, movie rentals, cell phones/video games, etc. etc. etc.--having a bored kid on your hands can be a nightmare
- Gifts (for them and for all the stupid b-day parties they'll have to go to for other kids)
- Various after-school and summer activities (sports, music, etc. etc. etc.)
- More gas spent to chaperone kids around
- ALL the baby/toddler accessories
- Haircuts, et al.
- Family vacations (ugh, Disney)
- More health insurance, and more medical expenses generally (expect kids to break bones; also expect to think nothing of taking a very expensive trip to the ER the first time a kids gets a 104 degree fever)
- BRACES!!!
- More life insurance

Certainly there are lots and lots of ways to do it way cheaper, but the expenses definitely add up.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

There it is @Hristo Botev. College could cost the $1mil on its own if nothing changes by that time for us!

It's funny too reading your list of examples... We do a lot of similar spending for our cats... 🐈🐈

Hristo Botev
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Hristo Botev »

Funny regarding college costs; was talking with a relative a few years ago who runs a 529 program for an investment bank, and even he admitted no one really believes the "projected college costs" calculators you see on 529 sites; there's a bubble that's just way overdue to be popped. FWIW, we cap our yearly 529 college savings at whatever amount our state gives us a tax credit for. I don't like the idea of tying up even more of my money in tax-advantaged accounts with restrictions on how/when I can use the money; but I can't say no to free money from the state.

Also, DW and I both fairly regularly "suggest" our kids not think that they absolutely have to go to college. It's not that we don't want them to go to college, it's just that we feel the need to counteract what they're getting at school, which is that it's simply inconceivable that someone NOT go to college.

classical_Liberal
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by classical_Liberal »

At a million your kid could just retire ERE style at 18, why go to school?

Hristo Botev
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Hristo Botev »

Honestly @CL, I'd probably pay our kids to do exactly that:

"Listen Botevichkas, we'll pay $1mil for you to go to X [overpriced 4-year university with a bloated administrative budget and little to any actual teaching happening], OR, we'll take that same money and stick it in a trust to be paid out to you once you demonstrate that for a 4-year period you can both generate and live comfortably on 1Jacob/year. Also, you need to spend the next 4 years reading all the books from this list: https://www.sjc.edu/academic-programs/u ... ading-list; and proving to us that you've read them."

classical_Liberal
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by classical_Liberal »

@HB
It'd probably be easy for them. Most of what I do today is trying to get back into the mindset (consumption and lifestyle-wise) I was at, at age 20. Social network was important, roommates and small living, DIY out of necessity, relatively healthy food on the cheap, outdoor and exercise time (sports) as a priority over work/school. Imagine if I didn't have 20 years of bad habits to fight.

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